Show ContentsMurchison History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The western coast of Scotland and the desolate Hebrides islands are the ancient home of the Murchison family. Their name is derived from the personal name Murchadh, which means sea warrior.The Gaelic form of the name is Mac Mhurchaidh, meaning son of Murchadh. [1]

Two other sources claim the name is from Merchiston (Merchistoun), a place name in Edinburghshire. [2] [3]

Early Origins of the Murchison family

The surname Murchison was first found in Inverness, where they held a family seat from very ancient times. They are believed to be descended from Murdoch, a natural son of Angus Mor of Islay of the Clan Donald. In the 12th and 13th centuries the name assumed the Gaelic MacMurchie but with the growing economic need to blend into the mainland the name became anglicized to Murchison.

One of the first records of the family was Fowill Morthoison, who was Burgess of Inverness in 1452. Later, John Murchosone was witness in Peebles in 1473 and Findlay Murquhasson and Neill Murquhason or Murquhessoun were tenants in Tiree in 1541. [1]

Early History of the Murchison family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Murchison research. Another 125 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1452, 1541, 1566, 1574, 1582, 1685, 1726, 1792, 1871, 1855, 1871, 1830, 1879 and 1830 are included under the topic Early Murchison History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Murchison Spelling Variations

Spelling variations were extremely common in medieval names, since scribes from that era recorded names according to sound rather than a standard set of rules. Murchison has appeared in various documents spelled Murchison, Murcheson, Murchieson, Murquhouson, Murquhosoun, Murckison and many more.

Early Notables of the Murchison family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Sir Roderick Impey Murchison, 1st Baronet, KCB, DCL, FRS, HonFRSE, FLS, MRIA (1792-1871), a Scottish geologist who served as director-general of the British Geological Survey from 1855 until his death in 1871. He is noted for investigating and describing the Silurian, Devonian and...
Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Murchison Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Murchison Ranking

In the United States, the name Murchison is the 7,010th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [4]


United States Murchison migration to the United States +

The descendants of the Dalriadan families who made the great crossing of the Atlantic still dot communities along the east coast of the United States and Canada. In the American War of Independence, many of the settlers traveled north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. Clan societies and highland games have allowed Canadian and American families of Scottish descent to recover much of their lost heritage. Investigation of the origins of family names on the North American continent has revealed that early immigrants bearing the name Murchison or a variant listed above include:

Murchison Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Murchison, who arrived in Georgia in 1736
Murchison Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Murchison, aged 34, who arrived in New York in 1812 [5]
  • Farguhar Murchison, aged 50, who immigrated to the United States from Glasgow, in 1892
Murchison Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Alexander Murchison, aged 21, who immigrated to the United States from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1909
  • John Murchison, aged 25, who immigrated to America from Dalkirth, Scotland, in 1910
  • John Murchison, aged 28, who landed in America from Renten, Scotland, in 1910
  • David Murchison, aged 23, who settled in America from Paisley, Scotland, in 1911
  • Kenneth Murchison, aged 32, who settled in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1912
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Murchison migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Murchison Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John Murchison U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1784 [6]
  • Mr. Keneth Murchison U.E. who settled in Eastern District [Cornwall], Ontario c. 1784 he served in Captain Angus McDonells Company [6]
  • Mr. Duncan Murchison U.E. who settled in Eastern District, Lancaster [South Glengarry], Ontario c. 1786 he served in the Royal Regiment of New York, married with 2 children [6]
  • Duncan Murchison, who settled in Lancaster, Ontario, Canada in 1796
Murchison Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Donald and Ann Murchison, who settled in Prince Edward Island in 1803

New Zealand Murchison migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Murchison Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Miss Finlay Murchison, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Sevilla" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd December 1859 [7]
  • Miss Catherine Murchison, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Sevilla" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 2nd December 1859 [7]

West Indies Murchison migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [8]
Murchison Settlers in West Indies in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Murchison, who arrived in Jamaica sometime between 1813 and 1825

Contemporary Notables of the name Murchison (post 1700) +

  • Clinton Williams "Clint" Murchison Sr. (1895-1969), American Texas oil magnate and political operative
  • Clinton "Clint" Murchison Jr. (1923-1987), American businessman, founder of the Dallas Cowboys football team, son of Clint Murchison Sr
  • Carl Murchison (1887-1961), American psychologist and editor of The Psychological Register in 1929
  • Ira James Murchison (1933-1994), American athlete, winner of the gold medal in 4 × 100 m relay at the 1956 Summer Olympics
  • Kenneth MacKenzie Murchison (1872-1938), prominent American Beaux-Arts and Gothic Revival architect
  • Larrell Murchison (b. 1997), American football defensive end for the Tennessee Titans
  • Loren Murchison (1898-1979), American athlete, double gold medal winner in 4×100 m relay at the Olympic Games
  • Thomas Malcolm "Tim" Murchison (1896-1962), American Major League Baseball pitcher who played for two seasons (1917-1920)
  • William Murchison, American political columnist
  • William Polk Murchison (1908-1977), American politician, Mayor of Corsicana, Texas, 1969-71 [9]
  • ... (Another 15 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Murchison Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Impavido pectore
Motto Translation: With undaunted heart.


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  3. ^ Barber, Henry, British Family Names London: Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, 1894. Print.
  4. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  5. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 2) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html


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